Thank you for putting these extracts onto the list as it demonstrates one of
the major problems everybody is up against and that is people who publish
stuff which is so flawed as to be misleading and useless. I annotate some of
the points where Hasel has gone astray.
This popular misunderstanding is rife among Christians of all persuasions
and secular writers (Winchester's biography of William Smith is a typical
I haven't a clue who Hasel is but the level of his scholarship here is plain
The trouble is that many will believe him and think he's a fine Christian
> Here are some paragraphs from Gerhard F. Hasel, "The 'Days'of Creation in
> Genesis 1: Literal 'Days' or Figurative 'Periods/Epochs' of Time?" in
> "Creation, Catastrophe, and Calvary" edited by J. T. Baldwin, 2002, Review
> and Herald Publish Association.
> pg. 42
> Some Medieval Understandings of Creation 'Days'
> The Alexandrian curhc father Origen, an accomplished practitioner and
> defender of the allegorical method of interpretation, has received credt
> being the first to understand the creation "days" in an allegorical and
> nonliteral manner.
> Augustine, the most famous of the Latin fathers, followed Origen in
> that we should approach the creation "days" allegorically rather than
> literally. Scholars understand Augustine to teach that God created the
> world in a single flash of a moment.
> At this point it seems appropriate to reflect on some methodological
> matters. Neither Augustine nor Origen had any evolutionary concept in
> They took the creation 'days' as nonliteral, standing for something else,
> because it was philosophically mandatory to assign to God creation
> unrelated to human time. Sine the 'days' of creation are God's work, they
> argued, such 'days' have to be representative of philosophical notions
> associated with God taken from their philosophical perspectives.
> Greek philosophy regards God as timeless. Since the creation 'days' are
> part of divine activity, the two church fathers assumed that they also
> should be understood in a timeless sense. Philosophy, not scientific
> speculation, influenced the thinking of Origen and Augustine, leading them
> to reinterpret the creation 'days.'
What a sweeping statement! I am not well up on the Early Fathers but slick
dismissive comments like this should never be put in print by any "scholar"
> What this approach has in common with modern attempts, which also take the
> creation 'days' to mean something other than what the face value of the
> terminology seems to suggest, is that both derive from influences outside
> the biblical text itself. Medieval theologican, who assumed the creation
> 'days' to be nonliteral, based in on nonbiblical, pagan philosophical mods
> of thinking.
> pg. 42
> Today still another influence from outside the biblical text leads
> interpreters to change what seems to be the plain meanding of 'days.' At
> present a naturlistically based scientific hypothesis, the modern theory
> evolution, prompts such changes.
Rubbish. An understanding that the earth is much older than 6000 years and
created in more than 6 24-days occured long before evolution was thought of.
> The Alexandrian allegorical method of interpretation shaped the thinking
> medieval CAtholic theologican. They adapted the fourfold sense of
> for medieval times, one that still has support in current official Roman
> CAtholicism. The three nonliteral meanings of the fourfold sense of
> Scripture (i.e., allegory, anagogy, and tropology) dominated Christendom
> more than a millennium, providing the hermeneutical means for the
> reinterpretation of the literal sense of the creation 'days.'
> Reformation Understanding of Creation 'Days'
> The sixteenth-century Reformers agreed that the fourfold sense of
> compromised the literal sense of the Bible, making its authority for faith
> and life null and void.
This is gross overstatement of what reformers said.
They insisted that the single, true sense of
> Scripture is the literal sense, the plain meaning of the text.
> One of the major achievements of the Protestant Reformation was the return
> to Scripture itself. It meant that Scripture has no need of an external
> for interpretation--whether that key be the pope, the church councils,
> philosophy, or any other human authority. Scripture's prespicuity became
> the norm of the day. Protestantism considered a reading from within its
> context as paramount. We must not superimpose external meaning on it, as
> had been the practice during medieval Catholicism. Rather we should
> approach the Bible in its literal and grammatical sense.
> Martin Luther, accordingly, argued for the literal interpretation of the
> creation account: "We assert that Moses spoke in the literal sense, not
> allegorically or figuratively, i.e., that the world, with all its
> , was created within six days, as the words read." The other Reformers
> understood the creation 'days'
> in the same way. Such literal and grammatical interpretation, sometimes
> call the historical-grammatical method, remaind the norm for biblical
> interpretation more or less into the nineteenth century.
Actually most from the late 16th century adopted some kind of
Chaos -restititution interpretation thus demonstrating the falsity of the
> Changes Under the Influence of Modernism
Use a word like Modernism to blacken any geologist as an unbleiever.
> As the concept of long time periods made its way into the understanding of
> earth's origins in the wake of the publications of James Hutton and
> Lyell, some Christian concordist interpreters started to interpret the
> Genesis 'days' of creation in a nonliteral manner. The Bible itself did
> demand it, but rather the new worldview of uniformitarianism and its
> of origins that required long periods of time.
Well.well well. Hutton first published his ideas in 1788 and various were
arguing for an extended understanding of geol time before this ; de Luc
1775, Buffon 1778, Whitehurst 1778 for starters. Not to mention all the
Chaos Restitution writers who allowed more time that 144 hrs ,these were
writing from 1620s and the dominant view from 1670.
Also lyell wrote in 1830 by which time most Christians had accepted the vast
age of the earth. Paul Marston calls this the Lyell myth
Further Uniformitarianism has nothing to do with extended periods of time,
the catastrophist geolgists had already argued for vast time.
What you cite is false histroy and grossly inaccurate.
> pg. 43
> The understanding of the creation 'days' as 'days of restoration,' 'days
> revelation,' aside from taking a 'day' for an 'age' ('day-age' theory) or
> epoch/era, goes back to this period and the changes in time frames
> by the new geology. A nonliteral reinterpretation of 'days' was typical
> concordists who had accepted long ages for the origin of earth. In view
> such developments, we cannot avoid concluding that the need to provide for
> geological ages became the catalyst for the reinterpretation of the 'days'
> of creation.
Again this preceeds the rise of geology from 1780 by a century or more ,
thus nullifiying Hasel's argument. The basic argument of the Day-age and the
Gap Theory preceeds the work of the late 18th century geologists.
To conclude Hasel simply gets his history grossly wrong and all his
arguments are worthless.
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